How to firescape your yard to protect your house from wildfires

Start exploring

As a homeowner, you can’t stop a fire once it’s started—but there are concrete ways to firescape, or make your yard more wildfire-resistant.

A “home ignition zone” is the area within 100 ft. of your home. Fires more than 100 ft. away are unlikely to directly ignite a wooden home’s walls.

Plan by zone

Within that 100-foot home ignition zone, there are three main areas that need different landscaping strategies to reduce wildfire risk.

This area is also called Zone 0 or the “ember-resistant zone.” This zone should contain as few non-fireproof objects as possible during high fire risk times.

Zone 0: Next to your house

That includes trimming back tree branches and removing wood-based mulch, fallen leaves and pine needles, fencing, gates, flammable patio furniture, etc. 

1. Remove anything that can burn

All organic mulch is flammable, and shredded rubber mulch burns can burn as hot as 630ºF with flames up to 3 ft. high.

2. Replace your mulch with stones 

Dry leaves and pine needles are excellent kindling for stray embers.

3. Clean out your gutters

Do not plant trees or shrubs with woody stems, and limit your plantings to well-irrigated, low-risk “firewise” plants.

4. Be mindful of planting

Falling embers can spark fires that spread directly to your home, even if they land 30 ft. away. 

Zone 1: 5 to 30 ft. away

Remove all dead plants and grasses, twigs, and branches

1. Keep your yard clean

Mow grass to 4 inches or shorter near your house, especially in the fall.

2. Keep grass short

Trim your trees so branches end at least 10 ft. from other trees and structures, and make sure tree branches are trimmed at least 6-10 ft. from the ground. 

3. Trim trees and tidy surrounding areas

Most experts recommend thinning dense stands of trees and brush.

Zone 2: 30 to 100 ft. away

Some plants burn more easily than others, so get rid of them.

1. Replace flammable plants

more stories


like this?

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.